Tag Archives: Georgia Shotgun Stores & Offices

Patmos, Georgia

The following history of Patmos is from Jessica McDaniel, who covers everything Baker County in her extensive blog, Southwest Georgia in Photographs*. She has a family connection through her great aunt, who owned Tennille Grocery, the last store in the community. If you’re interested in this part of the state, please check it out. She’s shared common landmarks, natural features, and even some special places that aren’t publicly accessible.

Patmos was first settled by John Frizzell Griffin of Dobbs County, North Carolina, who came to Georgia after buying a land lot in Baker County. He soon married Mary Elizabeth Griffin and they built their home in what is now Patmos. In 1882 a church was built to serve a handful of families who had moved to the area. They named the church ‘Patmos’ after the Isle of Patmos from the Bible; the name stuck and the town was known by that name from that day forward. The Patmos school was built in 1870, but later moved to Milford to serve that town. Two more schools were built in Patmos to serve the area, they were Midway School and Vilulah School, both schools served the whites in town. Midway and Vilulah schools were combined and a new three-room school house was built in 1922, this school was eventually demolished to make way for the brick Patmos School, which opened in 1934 and closed in 1964. West Baker School, another white school, also closed at this time. White families were quick to establish a private school in order to keep a school in Patmos and used the former West Baker school as the location. Baker Academy was only open for about three years and then closed as families moved to Southwest Georgia Academy in nearby Damascus, Early County. The Patmos Free Will Baptist Church was established on July 30, 1882 by nine Free Will Baptist faithful in the town; it still thrives today. Patmos has always been a farming town, but at one time had four mills, a grarage, and three general stores. It’s is still a tiny, but thriving community, which still supports one store.

*- I don’t think Jessica has updated the blog in a long time, but thankfully she continues to make it available for all to enjoy. It’s an important resource for an area that isn’t otherwise well-represented online.


Historic Storefront No. 2, Patmos

This is located adjacent to the previous store, and was probably a related business.

Commissary, Baker County

I believe this was part of a large working farm [there’s an old windmill across the road] and may have served as a commissary or general store.

General Store, 1894, Vilulah

In a community as small as Vilulah, the church and general store were the center of life. This is a remarkably well-preserved early example of the shotgun-style store building, common throughout Georgia well into the 20th century.

It’s located adjacent to the Vilulah Cemetery.

Double-Pen House & Shotgun Store, Damascus

This is another older photo, dating to 2012, so I’m not sure if either structure is still around. The house is a double-pen type and the shotgun store to the right may have association.

Lucile, Georgia

Lucile is a tiny village located along the Miller/Early County line. It only had a post office for four years, from 1899-1903, and was a typical crossroads community, centered on agriculture. Originally known as Racketville, it was changed to Lucile in honor of postmaster Charles S. Middleton’s daughter. This historic store and filling station likely dates to the 1920s or 1930s, with some modifications over time.

George Wilkerson writes…I grew up in Lucille community and still live here today…Back in the mid 1950s [this was] a country grocery store ran by Mr. Bruce Bachelor and later by the Johnson family. Miss Lucille Johnson had a bait shop in the back of it for a few years.

Shotgun Store, 1910s, Cusseta

I photographed this shotgun-style general store in 2009. As of 2022, I believe it is still standing. A resource survey dates it to circa 1914.

Moore Commissary, Circa 1906, Junction City

I believe this to be Charlie Moore’s commissary, which served employees in his milling and coffin building operations. William H. Davidson notes two stores in Junction City in his history of Talbot County.

J. Leonard Morgan’s general store wasn’t open until 1929, and this construction looks earlier than 1929 to me. I think this is what he identified as Marvin J. Hester’s general store, “located in Charlie Moore’s old commissary building“.

That would likely place this structure’s date of construction to circa 1906. It was a condition of Moore’s purchase of the Perkins properties [present day Junction City vicinity] that all structures of that enterprise be removed by 1 September 1906, so Moore likely built this commissary when he established the town.

Shotgun Store, Cadley

This photograph dates to 2013. I imagine the store was probably built in the early 1900s and it is of the shotgun form, among the most common designs for rural Georgia stores in the early 20th century.

Shotgun Store, Philomath

Even though it has newer front doors, this structure fits the “shotgun” profile associated with many stores and commissaries in late-19th- and early-20th-century Georgia. The style was also commonly used for warehouses. Until I learn more, I’m identifying it as a store.